A man charged with dousing a homeless man with kerosene and setting him ablaze late Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the assault charge in Columbus Recorder’s Court Saturday.
Steve Blake is accused of burning a 48-year-old man at the tent city campsite near the downtown exit off J.R. Allen Parkway. Judge Julius Hunter ordered Blake, who surrendered to police, held on $100,000 bond and bound the aggravated assault charge over to Muscogee Superior Court.
With second and third-degree burns over his torso, the victim remains in critical condition at a burn center near Augusta, Ga., said police detective Jason Brown.
Brown said the victim and a woman were at the campsite drinking beer when the victim was splashed with kerosene and burned. Authorities found kerosene and items for lighting it at the scene.
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Witnesses at the campsite identified Blake as a suspect. He fled the scene before emergency medical services personnel arrived.